Austin leaders react to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

Residents march to the Texas Capitol in protests after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Residents march to the Texas Capitol in protests after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Residents march to the Texas Capitol in protests after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

When a judge in Minnesota announced a jury had found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter, Austin City Council members were listening to a briefing from a task force of city staff and community members formed to work on policing issues in the community.

A jury convicted Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd on April 20 after Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes in May 2020.

"I was holding my breath until about 10 minutes ago and didn't realize I was doing it until I saw ‘guilty, three counts,’ and I exhaled," District 1 Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison said after the verdict. "And so I’d also like very much to extend this opportunity to remind folks in our community that this work will never stop."

District 4 Council Member Greg Casar also acknowledged the verdict during the meeting.

"While the guilty verdict today provides accountability, it doesn't provide real justice. Real justice would be George Floyd being able to return to his daughter Gianna. Real justice would be never allowing this to happen again," Casar said.


Other local leaders, including Mayor Steve Adler, District 2 Council Member Vanessa Fuentes and District 10 Council Member Alison Alter shared reactions on social media.







State lawmakers have filed bills in the Texas Legislature that would change laws regarding use-of-force policies, accountability measures for police officers and the public release of body camera footage. The city of Austin is also making changes to its department, including cutting funds from the police department budget in fiscal year 2020-21 and reinvesting in other programs. A firm timeline for the city to adopt recommendations from the group of staff and citizens that presented April 20, called the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force, has not yet been established.
By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2019 as a reporter for The Woodlands area and began working as Austin's City Hall reporter in April 2021.